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Sea to Athens - layover in CDG long enough?

Im flying out in two weeks (YAY!!!) from Seattle to Athens. We have a layover in France at CDG at 835 in the morning with about an hour and 15 minutes to get through to our flight to Athens. I'm wondering if this is going to be a problem? I'm going crazy thinking that we might miss our flight to Athens which would make us miss our flight to Santorini!

I havent been to CDG in years so Im hoping that an hour and 15 minutes is enough! Anyone have any ideas?

Posted by
2845 posts

I've taken that route twice and ran into problems both times. I barely made my flight to Athens because the Immigration/Passport Control booths were undermanned and there were several flights arriving at the same time, causing a serious backup. Then once through that nightmare I had to wait my turn for customs. THEN I had to find the shuttle to take me to the correct terminal for the onward flight. You'd think 75 minutes would be enough, but it was very nerve-wracking and stressful. CDG is a terrible airport and very dirty and disorganized on top of the other issues I mentioned. I won't fly through CDG ever again unless I have at least 2 hours to make my connection. I hope you don't experience the same hassles I did!

Posted by
7 posts

ACK!! Oh no! Im going to be a giant stressball. I wonder if we miss our flight due to going through customs how Air France would deal with that? Hopefully another flight same day!! I guess I will just have to wait and see and just go with the flow since I wont have any control over it!

Posted by
388 posts

I agree with Lee. Do you know what terminals you are arriving and departing from? In my experience, I've been fairly fortunate in circumstances like that. With long lines, people are usually a little more understanding, so don't be afraid to let them know you have a very tight connection. Good luck!

Posted by
9110 posts

Oh, for Pete's sake. Roissy is not Manila.

What terminals are involved? If it's within T2 A-F, it's a piece of cake. Sometimes taking the shuttle is twice as slow as walking.

If it's a continuum on AF, they'll stick you on the next available if it ain't your fault.

The world has not ended.

Posted by
7 posts

Im flying SEA to CDG on Delta into 2E then have 1 hour 15 minutes to get to Air France to Athens at 2F... will be carrying on a backpack with no checked bags at all..

Im not really worried about getting another flight if I miss it...just dont want to miss my SECOND connecting flight from Athens to Santorini!

Posted by
4224 posts

It doesn't matter at CDG if you have checked bags or not as you won't see them until you reach Greece. You will, however, have to get yourself through immigration at CDG before reaching your next flight.

Posted by
9110 posts

E and F are five minutes apart, seven if you crawl.

Posted by
7 posts

Glad to hear they are close. Hopefully our trip through Customs/Immigration will go fairly quickly. Maybe I can talk to someone and work my way to the front if its long lines.

Posted by
2845 posts

Let me just add that when I finally reached Athens AF had lost my bag, causing me to miss my flight to Santorini and forcing me to wear the same clothes I had flown in for 26 hours for 48 hours more. They finally found it and flew it to Santorini on either Aegean Airlines or Olympic, I don't remember which, but they made me come to the airport to collect it instead of sending it out to me in Oia, which cost me an extra €40 in taxi fares. Since that debacle it's been carry-on only for me every time!

Posted by
7 posts

LOL Horrible! I carry on everywhere I go anymore. Its just so much easier for me!! Thanks for the input :)

Posted by
4224 posts

Just to be clear, customs and immigration are two different things. You will go through immigration in CDG as that is your entry point into Europe/Schengen. You go through customs in Greece when you walk out with your bags.

Posted by
7 posts

Oh! So that may shorten things up quite a bit then! So if I understand you correctly...even with a carry on back pack you just go thru the passport check part...then the customs bag search part in Athens?

Posted by
2845 posts

My experience was different. I went through customs at CDG. Once you're inside the Schengen Zone it's like travelling from Chicago to New York, so no inspection in Athens. And even if you don't go through customs at CDG the Athens custom officers are usually too busy ogling the girls to bother with checking bags.

Posted by
4224 posts

Well, immigration is the most difficult step of entering Europe. Long lines, potentially.

Customs is a completely different story and very unlike the US Customs process. You simply choose to walk through either a green or red doorway, green if you have nothing to declare and red if you have something to declare. Searches are random and virtually unheard of if you choose the green channel; there are also no forms to fill out.

So basically European customs takes about 2 seconds and European immigration/passport control can take anywhere from 10 minutes to 1.5 hours depending on arrivals and the availability of officers.

Posted by
39 posts

Let me piggy back on Jenean's post: I am going the opposite direction. From Athens, thru CDG with a 90 minute layover for a flight to the states. Do I have to go thru immigrations & customs since I am already in Europe?

Posted by
2845 posts

No. Anything "official" will have taken place already in Athens, but you'll have to go through Customs and Passport Control when you reach the U.S.

Posted by
4224 posts

I don't think the message above is exactly correct.

Flying from Athens to CDG is within Europe, so basically like a domestic US flight - no customs, no passport control. When you are at CDG, however, and transiting to your gate, you will need to pass through passport control as you will be leaving Europe/Schengen at that point. No idea what kind of line to expect here. There are no customs checks when you are departing Europe/Schengen.

Posted by
2845 posts

Good point. To clarify, if you are immediately directed to a secure transit area at CDG when you get off the plane from Athens to await the departure of your flight home, and if you don't leave that area, it's the same as if you never got off the plane from Athens, so no more Passport Control. If you get off the plane from Athens and enter the general arrivals terminal area before you re-enter a secure departures area, perhaps in another terminal, then it would make sense that you have to go through some sort of Passport Control again when you re-enter that secure departures area for the onward flight.

Posted by
4224 posts

Sorry Lee, but I don't agree. Some passengers on the Athens flight will terminate travel in Paris and will never have the need to go through passport control. Others, like the OP, will continue on and require passage through immigration. The airline staff in Athens do not direct the former around passport control and the latter through passport control. No passengers on the Athens to CDG flight will go through passport control in Athens, but it will be necessary for the OP to go through it in CDG.

Posted by
2519 posts

In my 2 transfers through CDG en route to Athens, I recall (with shudders) the ordeal of making it to my onward flight. As others say, you go OUT of the secure area (there is no way to stay within it), and then have to find your way to the airport wing that has your onward fllight. During one transfer we had only 75 minutes; some people were led by an air france staffer with a flag, but we were not. No one helped they pretended not to understand our (college-era) French; in fact, the 2 women at the "Information" desk ignored us, except for mocking us to one another. We were sent to a shuttle bus that wended its way (slowly) around the outer part of the airport, stopping at different wings (the place is like an octopus). Seeing that we would not make it in time to our "Leg," we got off, and RAN for perhaps half mile thru the maze. Entering security (long line) we then were the last to board our plane. As we pulled out of the gate, I looked out of the window, and saw the shuttle bus finally arriving.

When I was forced to use CDG again, I chose a flight that had a 3.5 hour layover. Even then I would almost rather use ANY other European Airport for a plane-change.

Posted by
2845 posts

Emily, what you say makes perfect sense. As to heading to Athens through Paris I stick to my recommendation of not trying to do it in 75 minutes. Better still, take another route and avoid CDG altogether!!

Posted by
1812 posts

Jenean -- I'm assuming you are home by now. I'm curious how this went? Any problems at CDG?